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Foothill League boys golf: Steady ones finish

Valencia’s Chang holds on for MVP honors, while West Ranch wins league title

Posted: April 27, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: April 27, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Valencia golfer Jonathan Chang releases his driver in frustration as he watches his shot veer out of bounds at the sixth tee on Thursday at TPC Valencia. Chang rebounded to win the match with a 2-over 74 and took league MVP honors.

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Valencia High senior golfer Jonathan Chang was everywhere but the fairway on the front 9 at TPC Valencia on Thursday.

Not a good thing with a second Foothill League Most Valuable Player prize and a third straight Newhall Land Cup title on the line.

Yet Chang, with a home-course advantage, closed with a stellar run to shoot a 2-over 74 for the day and claim both titles at the Foothill League’s sixth and final match — which doubles as the second day of the Newhall Land Cup.

Also on the day, West Ranch won its fifth straight Foothill League title and placement for the CIF team and individual playoffs were set.

Chang will be the No. 1 representative for the May 14 CIF-Southern Section Northern Individual Regional.

“It was pretty stressful,” he said of his front 9 on Thursday. “But today was a great example that I could control myself better. I’m more mentally tough. There was no point in getting mad. Just go out and play golf.”

After seven holes, Chang was 6-over par.

After eight, he was at 5-over.

His competition in the MVP race, West Ranch junior Joey Downey, though, was also at 5-over.

“At some point I was two up on him on the day and two behind for MVP. I thought I could do this,” Downey said. “But when I played well, he played well.”

Both golfers were at 3-under on the back 9, allowing Chang to take the MVP by four total strokes. (The MVP goes to the player with the lowest amount of strokes during the six Foothill League matches minus a throw-out score).

Chang, a member at TPC Valencia, was getting support from fellow members throughout the day.

Yet there was consolation for Downey.

West Ranch, which was coming into the season minus 2011 graduate J.J. Holen — who led the team to four straight league titles — was thought of as being vulnerable.

Despite finishing third overall on the day as a team with a score of 400, the Wildcats defeated Valencia for a Foothill title by 42 strokes.

“It proved we still got game,” Downey said of winning the league title.

Valencia won the match with a team score of 390, followed by Saugus’ 395.

The Vikings finished second in league and the Centurions ended up in third.

They will join West Ranch in the CIF-SS Northern Team Regional on May 7.

Hart, which finished fourth on Thursday with a 411 and fourth in league overall, can apply for an at-large bid to the team postseason.

The Indians had one of the most intriguing stories on the day, though.

Senior Chad David came into the day ninth overall individually in league.

Only the top seven qualify for the individual postseason.

With a medalist 1-under 71 performance on Thursday, David leapt all the way to fifth overall and is now playoff bound for the first time in his high school career.

“The other day, I was calculating all day what I had to shoot (to get in). Then I started second-guessing myself,” David said. “This was probably the most relaxed I’ve played in my life.”

David said he wasn’t aggressive. He just thought par on every hole.

In the end, he shot his best-ever tournament score.

David joins Chang, Downey, West Ranch’s Isaac Kim (third overall), Saugus’ Braden Lewis (fourth) and Zack Leonard (sixth) and West Ranch’s Brandon Dooley (seventh) in the individual playoffs.

Chang is the obvious favorite to go the furthest, along with West Ranch as a team.

In Chang’s three previous trips, he has made it to the second round twice and third round (sophomore year) of the CIF postseason once.

The state championship is the fourth round and will be played on June 6 at San Gabriel Country Club.

Note: Canyon finished fifth on Thursday with a 459 and fifth overall in league. Golden Valley shot a 506 and end the season in sixth place.

661-287-5529

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